In my opinion, cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables you can find. That is a pretty bold statement coming from someone who used to despise cauliflower. When eaten raw it can be somewhat bland, but I have found that it easily takes on any flavor you add to it and can be transformed into more than just a simple side dish. Over the years I have learned how to use cauliflower in place of pizza dough, rice, and potatoes. For anyone looking for ways to sneak some extra vegetables into their meals, or to reduce their carb intake, cauliflower can be a great alternative. I want to share some of my favorite recipes that not only taste good but are pretty easy to make too.
- Cauliflower pizza crust This is probably the most complicated recipe I will be sharing as it is the most time consuming and does have a bit of a learning curve but oh does it taste good! I’m not going to pretend that it tastes exactly like regular pizza dough, but it is a great alternative. My kids even enjoy eating it and they are my toughest critics. When I make this recipe for my family I like to set up a little “build your own pizza” station so we can each make our own individual mini pizzas. The key to good cauliflower pizza crust is creating the crisp. The ingredients are going to soften it, so your goal is to make it just dry enough to hold its own once you put the toppings on. Along with that, just be aware of the water content of the ingredients going on top. Toppings like squash or too much sauce can make the pizza too soggy.
- Cilantro cauliflower rice Since the last recipe required more work I’ll make the second one easy. This is by far my favorite and most used cauliflower recipe. Not only is it very easy to make, it also takes almost no time to cook and you really can’t mess it up. In fact, I have made it so many times that I know the recipe by heart. The key to all of these rice recipes is enough seasoning. Regular rice is good on its own in my opinion, but you really got to season cauliflower rice so don’t be scared to get creative.
- Cajun cauliflower rice If you like spicy food then you will love this. To make it even better you can cook everything in one pan! It doesn’t get any better than eating good food and not having a big mess to clean up.
- Cauliflower fried rice For a somewhat healthier take on a Chinese takeout favorite this is definitely a great recipe to try. You may not have all of the ingredients required on hand (soy sauce or sesame oil) but if you try this recipe I bet you will want to make it again. One thing I would do differently is use a food processor instead of a cheese grater. I found that the cheese grater method took a lot longer to shred all of the cauliflower. For a different take on fried rice this is also a great recipe to try. It is definitely not what you would typically expect as “fried rice” but it is a very tasty dish and perfect for when you need to take a break from heavier food.
- Mashed cauliflower You have to try this recipe! It is so delicious. It can be a little watery so you might want to let the cauliflower sit and drain for a few minutes but other than that it really is similar to mashed potatoes. Plus whoever came up with sautéing the garlic in butter is a genius.
- Loaded cauliflower I wouldn’t exactly say this a healthy side dish considering everything that goes into it. But, it is perfect to serve during a cookout.
- Curry roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes I have recently challenged myself to start cooking with spices that have intimidated me in the past and this is one recipe I made and was surprised just how much I enjoyed it. My husband, who is not a fan of sweet potatoes, even enjoyed it. It is not the most feeling meal, so you might want to serve it with a protein like chicken or have it as lunch instead of dinner.
- Buffalo cauliflower wings: I usually don’t love veganized dishes like this, but the texture of the cauliflower mixed with the crunch of the batter and the buffalo sauce make this such a fun recipe. Usually when I’m eating chicken wings, I’m really just after the buffalo sauce and bleu cheese dressing anyway, so this recipe is such a nice alternative.
- Giardiniera: Italian pickled veggies. This is also something you can easily find at most grocery stores. Cauliflower is just one of those vegetables that holds up well in so many cooking techniques, including pickling. I make something similar to the recipe linked, but I tend to use yellow onion instead of pearls (because it’s easier to find and I don’t love the texture of pickled pearl onions) and I usually add either red bell peppers or seeded jalapenos.
- Roasted cauliflower: With pumpkin seeds, brown butter, and lime! Full of flavor and super easy to make. You can omit the cilantro if you’re not a fan, use whatever kind of seeds or nuts you have, and swap lime for lemon, depending on what you have around. Another really simple roasted cauliflower recipe is this one. Again, very easy to make and uses few ingredients that you’re likely to have.
Quite a few of these recipes do require you to use a food processor, if you do not have one it might be a good investment because you can use it to make salsa, pesto, hummus and much more. If you don’t have enough storage space to add more appliances to your kitchen then you can use a cheese grater in its place and still get the same results (it will just take a little longer). If you want to save some time you can also prep the cauliflower rice ahead of time and freeze it. Leave a comment below if you have a great cauliflower recipe you think I should try.